June 9th, 2017 12:49PM
Tom Gilbert is the bus driver at The Loon Resort and one of the great customer service characters of the Gaylord Golf Mecca.
A 76-year-old former policeman, truck driving examiner and instructor and more, Gilbert is the energetic man behind the wheel of the shiny black 12-passenger Mercedes bus that takes guests of The Loon Resort from The Loon to The Lakes and The Ridge on the schedule they prefer starting early in the morning until 8 p.m. every day.
Yes, every day, he greets group after group with a smile, a twinkle in his eye, a joke on the tip of his tongue and a willing hand with those golf clubs.
“He’s perfect and an employee who interacts with the customers and golfers by helping them get around is a big part of our service,” said Matt Preuss, managing partner of the full-service stay-and-play resort with three great golf courses. “He’s always happy to help. Has a great attitude and people like him. He will do what you ask, and find a way to make things happen and make people happy.”
The Grayling resident who winters in Florida starts working at some point in April to some point in October to serve the guests, and he aims to please.
“I could not ask for a better place to be,” he said. “The golfers will ask me to recommend one of the courses, but I answer ‘they are all great.’ They are all run by the same great people. I believe I work for a five-star resort in the north. If we can make it five and one half stars, then I will do my best to make it happen.”
He keeps the Mercedes shining at a five-star level, rolls out of bed each day at about 5:30 a.m. and he said, has fun for the day.
“I’ve got to do something,” he said. “If I would have retired and done nothing, I don’t think I’d still be around. I like to have a purpose in life.”
The father of four who has what he calls a bunch of grandchildren and a handful of great grandchildren described himself as a people person, who loves to drive.
“I like the interaction with the public,” he said. “When I want to be alone I go be alone, but most of the time I like to be around people, talk to people, find out about people. I read people, too. We get a few characters, and I’ve seen a few interesting things, but honestly it’s all good. I try to make sure they are safe and get from spot to spot in good shape. ”
He has no plans to retire, and say play golf.
“I’ll be here as long as they are satisfied with my work,” he said. “My dad told me long ago, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”